Herman Melville

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Moby-Dick: Chapter 82 Summary & Analysis

Ishmael reports that he considers a great number of historical and mythological figures also to be whalemen: Perseus, who slew the Leviathan and saved Andromeda; Hercules, whose feats very well might have included animals “from the deep”; and St. George, the protector of England, whose “dragon” some accounts believe actually to be a whale, or an ocean-monster. Ishmael reports that he is proud to number himself a sailor among these “ranks.”
Ishmael has viewed whales and whaling through the lenses of science, art, and philosophy. Now he views it through the lens of mythology, both Greek and Christian. In doing so he elevates skillful whalers to a heroic status, and further denigrates those like Derick and the crew of the Virgin who dishonor whaling through their bumbling efforts.
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